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>> Hi, my name's Dick -- I golf at Pebble Beach -- I wear dam expensive sweaters, and I drive the Mercedes SL550. I'm sorry, I can't
get past that image. That's what I think of whenever I see one of these things, but they're actually very nice driving cars, extremely
admirable in their engineering, and they have some really good cabin tech, though not perfect -- come on -- I'll show ya.
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>> This is Mercedes' classic, luxury, treat -- it still stands for the same thing -- I've made it and I want you to know I have. Plenty
of power under foot as the name tells you, it's a 5.5 liter -- dual overhead cam aluminum 32 valve V8 -- naturally aspirated, no
turbos no super chargers on this guy, and we're still getting 382 horsepower, and check this out 391 foot pounds of torch. I always
like it when the foot pounds are higher than the horses, 'cause to me foot pounds are fun -- horses are just necessary. That power
goes out through a one choice only 7 speed automatic with all kinds of adaptive learning technology that supposedly adapts its shifting
behavior to the way you drive. In the comfort mode, the car is doing exactly what it says; it has a very gradual launch behavior. It
even starts in second gear and backs up in reverse second gear, so there's nothing jerky or sporty about it. I've been disappointed in the
way that it kind of leisurely slides into gears and has a little bit of float between the [inaudible]. The overall driving impression,
therefore, is one of power and majesty, not so much cut and thrust -- canyon racing -- tossable roadster. This is not that kind of car.
Now, keeping all that stuck to the ground is ABC Active Body Control. Four corners of electro hydraulic gas dampers, and it reads the
road and adjusts all four corners independently as you're going over varying surfaces. Let's look at the NAV to get an idea of the
screen quality. That's really good in both the graphical rendering -- look how smooth and nice everything is and instantly digestible. I'm a
little bit irritated by having to jump and down to the upper band and the lower band to go to various menus.
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>> Now, speaking of that NAV system, it's hard drive based. You know what that means? They've carved out a little bit, and I mean
a little bit, for you to store your music on. A poultry 4 Gig, that's just too scrawny, I'm sorry, but it's at least an advanced
technology. Media interface is here inside the console. Now, you plug in a master harness, right there -- and then the pigtails
coming off of that, in our case, are iPod, as you can see, and there's a female AUX.
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>> Of course, all these SL550's are metal top retractables. Ours though, has the optional skylight, that's called the Panorama Roof.
You gotta [phonetic] pay more for that. Notice how flat the whole apparatus gets as it goes into the trunk. There's not a lot of
bulk in there, it's just two main panels. Mercedes has done what they can to keep the trunk usable, so here's our top again --
hello old friend -- and notice how it does a courtesy lift when you go to the trunk allowing you to lift up that guy and get
easy access to what storage you've got -- okay -- let's figure out what Dick has to pay for this car -- about $97,000 base, but that
doesn't include the Distronic radar cruise control, that's $2,200 more -- that doesn't include the panoramic glass roof in the
retractable top -- that's $2,000 more. $3,800 will get you these fancy power adjusting, message, multi-contour, seats on both sides and
the keyless go. And, the dumb thing I don't want you to buy is the $700 set of illuminated door sills. Doing the back of the envelope
math -- we're breathing really hard on Maserati Gran Turismo pricing now. That's a tough choice but that's the kind of anguish I'd
like to have.
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